Best Anchovy Paste Substitute? Here Are 8!

Be it your Caesar salad, lip-smacking pizza, soup, or any dressing, anchovy paste is often looked up to as a taste enhancer. Made from cured anchovies, the pungent fishy anchovy paste is very salty and has got a soft texture. 

It’s available in both tubes and cans at all supermarkets and general grocery stores. If you can’t find the anchovy paste, there are ample substitutes to use instead. The best anchovy paste substitutes are soy sauce, capers, Asian fish sauce, seaweeds, kalamata olives paste, miso sauce, shrimp paste, and the like. 

Read on as we discuss these common anchovy paste alternatives with useful tips to use them. So, let’s start. 

Top 8 Anchovy Paste Substitutes You Can Try Today!

You can swap your favorite anchovy paste with these substitutes if you forgot to buy them the last time you went grocery shopping. 

1. Soy Sauce

Since the anchovy paste is salty (apart from being pungently fishy), soy sauce is counted among the best anchovy paste substitutes. It’s of Chinese origin and comes with a strong umami flavor. In case you’re wondering about its ingredients, they include brine, soybeans, roasted grains, and a fungus called Aspergillus oryzae. 

While using soy sauce, note that soy sauce adds a completely different texture and consistency to the dishes it’s used in than the traditional anchovy paste. 

For example, if using the marinara sauce, you’d need to add a small tablespoon or two of cornflour along with soy sauce to thicken it. 

2. Seaweed

Apart from its vast applications in cosmetics and fertilizers, seaweed is commonly used in food items as well. In fact, seaweed is perhaps the closest and best anchovy paste substitute you’ll come across. Among its various varieties, we suggest Nori – a dried edible seaweed. 

To prepare, take a deep pot, add in 2-3 cups of stock, soy sauce (sake and mirin, if you like), and a few shredded nori sheets. Boil the contents till the stock evaporates away. What you’ll find left inside the pot is nori tsukudani – your anchovy paste substitute.  

3. Kalamata olives paste

Grown in Greece, kalamata olives paste (or Tapenade) is another great anchovy paste substitute due to its nearly similar taste and color. Why these olives? If you’ve got the exact question in your mind, here’s the answer. 

Kalamata olives have a dark (and soft) outer covering/flesh, although they are purple or light pink from the inside. Due to this, it’s extremely easy to chop or crush them for use. Other varieties, though, are difficult to deal with!

You can prepare the Tapenade paste/spread by mixing in finely chopped kalamata olives with oil and some spices you like the most. Then, it’s ready to replace your otherwise hard-to-replace anchovy paste. 

Mind the quantity of oil, though. While too much oil can make the paste liquidy, scarce use of oil can almost solidify the olives paste. 

4. Miso sauce (or Miso paste)

Another Japanese staple, miso sauce is an incredibly salty anchovy paste substitute that’s made from fermented soybeans and Aspergillus oryzae (or Kōji mold, a fungus.) It has got a thick consistency and umami flavor that goes very well with almost every dish. 

While preparing the miso paste, mind the proportion of oil and salt used. 

5. Umeboshi Paste

Although used as a dip, you can use this umeboshi paste as an anchovy paste substitute to flavor your favorite dishes as well. It’s made from pickled plums and is quite salty. The paste resembles the consistency and texture of the anchovy paste, just to let you know. 

Since umeboshi paste’s consistency is due to the plum’s water content, refrain from using the paste directly from its jar. First, drain the excess water, and then use the paste. Otherwise, the dish’s final thickness might vary. 

6. Worcestershire Sauce

Don’t have anchovy paste at home but have a Worcestershire sauce bottle watching from the cupboard? If yes, go, and pick it up as it’s another cool replacement for the former.  

Made from numerous ingredients, the primary ones include garlic, molasses, vinegar, salt, sugar, tamarind liquid, anchovies, and chili pepper extract. Thus, it can never disappoint you as an anchovy paste substitute. 

It’s pretty salty, just like soy sauce. And guess what? The Worcestershire sauce doesn’t lend any fishy taste or flavor to any dish, despite having anchovies as one of the ingredients. 

7. Shrimp Paste

Shrimp paste is another good substitute for anchovy paste. It’s made from ground shrimp and salt. To use the shrimp paste, make sure to use the same quantity as that of the anchovy paste. This is due to the former’s strong taste. 

If you normally use ½-tsp of anchovy paste, use ½-tsp of shrimp paste too. Else, it’ll overpower the other flavors which you wouldn’t want, like?

8. Capers

Last but not least, another strong ingredient or substitute for anchovy paste is capers – pickled pea-sized buds. They are readily available in supermarkets and local grocery stores in both paste form and buds. 

To use capers, use half the anchovy paste’s quantity. Capers go well in seafood and sauces. 

So, these were the top eight substitutes for anchovy paste.  

Anchovy Paste – A Quick Recipe

Did you know it’s incredibly easy to prepare fresh anchovy sauce at home if it’s unavailable elsewhere? 

All you need for this quick recipe is:

  • Canned anchovies (in olive oil)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Your favorite seasoning, say, fresh or dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Dijon mustard (optional)

Once you’ve gathered all these ingredients, add all of them (except olive oil) to a grinder and blend. Run the blender for 1-2 minutes. Post that, add the extra virgin olive oil to the mixture in the form of a stream to smoothen it. 

Once done, transfer the contents to a can or similar item for later use. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What else can I use in my Caesar salad if not anchovy paste?

You can use Worcestershire sauce, capers, or Tapenade paste/sauce instead of the anchovy paste in your Caesar salad. 

Can anchovies be eaten raw?

Yes, you can eat raw anchovies, straight from the tin. They have a thin coating of oil and salt to keep them ready to eat during journeys. 

Can I substitute fish sauce for anchovy paste?

Yes, you can substitute fish sauce for anchovy paste. However, here’s something you should remember. Don’t add too much fish sauce as doing so will lead to a fishy flavor. Instead, remember to use fish sauce for anchovy paste in a 3:4 ratio.

Are anchovies like sardines?

No, sardines and anchovies are two different fish species with contrasting appearances and tastes. Hence, you can’t substitute sardines for anchovies and vice-versa. 


Anchovy paste has a segregated consumer base due to its salty and fishy taste. If you’re a die-hard fan of the paste and can’t think of its pungent flavor missing in your dishes, it’s good to have some anchovy paste substitutes on standby. 

In this article, we explored the top eight substitutes for the anchovy paste, from the most common soy sauce to the rare capers. Now, it’s up to you which to go ahead with. 

Don’t forget to help others with more anchovy paste substitutes through your comments below.

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About Joy

Hi, I'm Martin and my friends call me Joy. From an early age, I was interested in food, vegetables, and fruits. I even have a nutritionist certificate. While searching for some information, I didn't find the answer, so I start a page

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